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University of Phoenix Chief Information Officer Jamie Smith winner of 2023 Arizona ORBIE® Enterprise Award

By Sharla Hooper

Recognition by ArizonaCIO honors regional executive leaders in information technology 

University of Phoenix celebrates that Jamie Smith, chief information officer, was announced as winner of the ArizonaCIO 2023 ORBIE Award in the category of Enterprise, in an event recognizing technology executives at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, on April 28, 2023.

As chief information officer for University of Phoenix, Smith supports the university mission and the digital platforms required to operate one of the largest online universities in the world with over 78,000 active students, of whom nearly 80% are employed, working learners. He brings a student-focused approach in a people-positive management style to an online university system serving students throughout their educational journey.

“The digital experiences we deliver are the student experience,” Smith shares. “Almost 100% of UOPX’s students will attend online, and so our technology platform is essentially the campus, student union and financial aid office for our students. I am proud to lead this work with over 35 self-organizing, agile product teams consisting of business/product management, user experience and engineering talent to create the best, most user-friendly digital experiences and solutions.”

The ORBIE Awards is the premier technology executive recognition program in the United States. Since inception in 1998, over 500 technology leaders have received the prestigious ORBIE Award. The ORBIE honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership. Finalists and winners are selected by an independent peer review process, led by prior ORBIE recipients, based upon:

  • Leadership and management effectiveness
  • Business value created by technology innovation
  • Engagement in industry and community endeavors.

“Jamie leads through engagement and empowerment. He led a strategic transformation of technology for the university, successfully supporting the growth, consistent improvements in student outcomes, and continued innovation across the university,” states Chris Lynne, president. “This award highlights his work as a critical, innovative and pivotal leader at University of Phoenix and an example of true leadership both inside and outside his chosen profession.”

Smith serves on the governing body of Evanta and Inspire CIO, Arizona chapter to further the workforce development of technology here in the Phoenix area. Over the past three years, he has hosted several panels and round tables, speaking on technology topics related to workforce transformation. He has served on the board of Junior Achievement and was closely involved with JA Biztown, an initiative creating business literacy in elementary age students. Additionally, he frequently volunteers with several animal related charities.

Smith started his career as a founder of one of the pioneering internet consulting firms and has looked to apply technology to the “wicked problems of business” ever since. He spent a decade working in a Japanese manufacturing culture which shaped his belief around engaged leadership and the importance of Gemba walks and Kaizen. “I firmly believe that those closest to the customer almost always have the greatest insight and so the role of leaders is to help guide strategic intent and create the conditions for team success.”

Smith frequently provides insights and thought leadership on his team’s unique work at University of Phoenix.

ArizonaCIO is the preeminent peer leadership network of Arizona chief information officers. ArizonaCIO is one of 30 chapters of the Inspire Leadership Network, a national membership organization comprised exclusively of CIOs from public and private businesses, government, education, healthcare and nonprofit institutions.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit